Monday, April 18, 2011

style changes...




I really want to change my dining room up to be more casual, like this one. I'd mix up the chairs a little more... 



My dining room table is very much like this one, and my chairs are exactly like these. I'm dying to break out of my 'too traditional' mold. I think my style has evolved from formal to more relaxed. Or would that be 'devolved'...?

I need some serious advice here....should I trade out my traditional pieces for a more casual mix? And here's the biggie: will I regret it later?  Does anyone else out there have these yearnings?

41 comments:

Design Blooms said...

As far as changes go, I want to all the time. Can you switch out your chairs for more casual ones, and keep the others in storage?

Will @ Bright.Bazaar said...

I say go for it: embrace your urges to mix things up a little! I like that top dining room, but like you say, changing the chairs and adding some more eclectic styles will make it that bit more relaxed.

Acquired Objects said...

Donna, I'm so glad you asked this question because I had the same feelings about my dining room too, well entire home. I've been slowly changing things so as not to freak myself outside. I went from tradiitional to a more relaxed look but kept some elegant pieces they mix beautifully. Go for it but do it slowly.

An Urban Cottage said...

Tell us more. How do you use the room? How often? How about an upholstered piece on the ends of the table and some kind of slipcover for the backs of the others?

Margaret said...

It is a very appealing idea to mix up chairs, different styles, colors, around a wonderfully gray/white patina table, and your idea to mix things up is totally normal! Keeping your traditional table, paired with painted chairs, or slipcovered tops, would be casual elegance, quick change, and add impact. And, please post your dining room reveal.

pretty pink tulips said...

When I was decorating my Charlotte house - so 9 years ago....we had a very traditional rectangular table, a large room. The interior designer I worked with suggested fully upholstered chairs in a durable fabric. So.....9 years later, I LOVE my "faux snakeskin" fabric. It looks chic, it hides any spills or stains, they are so comfortable and I have never regretted this decision. So....though my chairs are not what you typically find in a DR, they seem up to date and also timeless.

Good luck!
xo E

Kerry said...

Couldn't you swap out chairs (keeping the old ones just in case) for something casual and affordable like Parsons chairs with slipcovers?

allison said...

Donna...from the beginning I knew we had a lot in common. Maybe it's our Southerness. My next project is our dining room. We invested in a double pedestal table and eight dining room chairs when we first got married. It is really nice furniture but it is so BORING! I am in the throws of trying to decide what to do. I do not want to follow the trends of the hour and regret it. We do use our dining room especially for holidays. I think I am going to slipcover the chairs in a soft pewter gray with creme trim for a softer more sophisticated look. I would love to see what you plan to do.

meenal @ maison marigold said...

I love that first image...such casual elegance is always appealing..atleast to me...as someone who has just made the first move to go in that direction..i strongly recommend that you go for a more relaxed feel for the room.I just ordered 2 panton chairs to put at the head of my table..now on the lookout for the remaining six in a different style..Do let us know what you opt for..have a lovely day..do stop by my blog when you have a moment! xx meenal

terrybrowder@saylesranch.com said...

Donna: Ok, you asked for advice, so here's my thoughts...To start, I agree with you about the formality. Seems that the older I get, and the more I see and experience, the more I am attracted to a more casual aesthetic. Don't get me wrong, I still love me some Queen Louis Anne Chippendale, or whatever, but a bit more casual, or mixing it up seems more genuine and real. As for the fear of regretting it later---It's furniture dear, not a tatoo!!! You're changing this time, and you can change again in the future. Furniture comes and goes. It's not a permanent decision. Lighten up and have some fun with your dining room. Everyone will appreciate you for it!

Sparky said...

After years (+-16)owning very formal dining chairs, I sold them. My table was always less formal. Having been made by my father in the 1940's, the table is something I will always hang on to. I replaced the chairs with less formal chairs (Hans Wegner wishbone). I have NO regrets about it and really love the look and the comfort! The "kids" are actually eating their quick meals in the dining area now, too---I much prefer this to their taking plates upstairs to their bedrooms! Who'd have thought!?!

LA POUYETTE - und die "Dinge des Lebens" said...

Hello,

As an former Antique dealer and Interior consultant I would suggest a wooden table with comfortable upholstered chairs, or painted ones like on the first image.
With wooden chairs, like the ones you have already, I would go for either a light color wood(like bleached oak for example) or painted table which would provide a more casual or elegant country look.
What do you think?

Greetings from the Périgord
Southwest France - karin

Karena said...

I have a very traditional Queen Anne set. My art is very contemporary and so sets it off just right.

I have though about getting a round table though or just upholstering the seats in a great pattern. Paint the chairs? Hmmm not sure.

Come and join my Fashionable Giveaway from the French Basketeer!

Xoxo
Karena

Art by Karena

Sarah said...

This is why we all need multiple houses to decorate in different styles. I agree with other commenters about keeping the formal ones in storage just in case!! They look like they must be beautiful.

Eve said...

I'm in the process of making the switch. I had the full dining room suite in cherry with white brocade seats. Mercy. I sold it all. Now I have contemporary leather chairs with an antique French farm table and two slip-covered arm chairs. I'm loving the more casual mix. The other thing we've done, since downsizing, is bring the library shelves into the dining room. The table becomes a work place by day, and the books become good company at meal times.

French Curiosités said...

As a stylist I agree with your readers. Keep your other chairs in storage and live with the new look for a few weeks. I love the deconstructed look and you can personalize it with more of your own objects until you get used to it. Afterward, pull out one or two things and see if you are comfortable with the openness of the arrangement.
I love the first photo. It's amazing.
http://www.etsy.com/shop/FrenchCuriosites

French Curiosités said...

As a stylist I agree with your readers. Keep your other chairs in storage and live with the new look for a few weeks. I love the deconstructed look and you can personalize it with more of your own objects until you get used to it. Afterward, pull out one or two things and see if you are comfortable with the openness of the arrangement.
I love the first photo. It's amazing.
http://www.etsy.com/shop/FrenchCuriosites

Jimmy The Undercover Designer said...

Do whatever your heart desires. Enjoy it while doing it and don't think about regrets.

Alexandra Rae said...

I haven't got time to read through the other comments. But let me say this. Don't do it! I have had these yearnings for years. But good taste and classic style never get old or unfashionable. I'm pulling out old handbags and peacoats that were once "too classic" for my taste. Just revamping with funky accessories. I'm tempted to rip my traditional living room to shreds. But instead, I'm layering in ikat drapes, new more modern artwork, and the gold leather pouffs. The look I love is not 'devolved' but evolved, mixed-up like the pied à terre of a well-travelled, eccentric aristocrat. Think of the eclectic homes in "Bright Young Things" (the Assouline book--Amazon). I say add a modernist ebay chandelier (unless you have an expensive one already) and keep your traditional dining set, or at least store the chairs and add some fun inexpensive ones for a few years. The whole set will never go out of style and it'll mean so much more to you (and your children) later, if only because you served your family at that table year after year.

Erin said...

I adore the first picture and am in the same exact quandary. Check out eddieross.com and look at august 7, 2008. He has a great before and after of a traditional piece. I think you could possibly paint the chairs and change up the fabric. Then, if you ever change your mind, just have them refinished!

Splendid Willow said...

Donna,

You are not going to get rid of anything. You are just going to play a little!

This makes me think of a picture I used in my presentation about Swedish design at the Nordic Heritage museum. I used it to illustrate how good Swedes are a mixing old with new! And it works!

(I am e-mailing it to you right now).

Happy new week!

Mon

The Zhush said...

YES! You are preaching to the choir here...ME! For my dining room, I've been adding more casual accessories and some modern/abstract art work in order to mix it up and give the room a more fun and informal feel.

Karen Appleton said...

I adore your blog! Gorgeous!

Tricia Rose said...

I would sell it and start over, in a heartbeat. I never go back, and I know too many people paying a fortune for storage over the years.

I even sold a vintage oval Saarinen tulip table and six chairs (two were arm chairs), and while I have a small pang every now and then, it wouldn't have fitted any of my subsequent houses.

The 12' farmer's table - THAT I regret selling! However its value would have been eaten up completely by years of storage, although it would have suited my present place to a T ...

I LOVE Terry's comment, "it's not a tattoo!"

Robyn said...

I'm in the process of doing the same thing to my living room! I want it to look like a living room where we can LIVE. I want durable slipcovers etc. My post today and yesterday was about this same topic! BTW, I love Jimmy's post...
Do whatever your heart desires. Enjoy it while doing it and don't think about regrets.

red ticking said...

i love casual... why dont you paint your chairs GRAY???
i have a giant oval wine tasting table with french vintage chairs and a pair of wing back ticking chairs...
and my favorite old french chandelier hanging over it all... it is always changing... i say... go for it... you will love mixing... xx

mb said...

You may or may not get down to reading my comments. You have gotten quite a lot of great advice.

I have the traditional table and chairs too, except that I feel that I have elevated the room with contemporary art and fabric. Think David Hicks.

mb from Dallas

under spanish moss said...

If you are ready for a change, get some new chairs and put the old ones in storage and rotate them out as you like. Maybe, you could slip cover some of the chairs you have and mix them with something new. Change is always good!!!

Splendid Market said...

I have a more formal dining room table and chairs as well, but they are pretty pieces I am not ready to part with. I find I can use accessories to make it all more casual, tablecloths, seashells, candles, rustic boxes filled with flowers...

It must be spring ~ I just sent out a post asking for advice on blue and white fabrics for my family room. I hope you can stop by and share your thoughts!!

ebh

me and alice said...

Just found your lovely blog!
I will be back soon!
Susanne

Charlie said...

Love the chairs in image one - i say go for it! Change is good. x

designchic said...

Love the look of the first image and I would have no problem painting the chairs exactly how I wanted them...I say do it!!

SHERRY HART said...

Keep the table and change out the chairs...if you are too scared to pain them :) You can save the chairs....I am trying to talk my friend into doing the same thing and she if fighting me like Mike Tyson. She has wood table, wood chairs, and a wood china cabinet. When I told her to paint the cabinet she about slapped me! Now I am just trying to tell her to move it somewhere...still fighting :)

Ivy Lane said...

maybe keep the chairs in storage and if you don't like a mix of new/old finds...bring back what you had.. or paint the ones you have and mix with 2 different captain's chairs... Go for it!!

paula said...

not sure if you would regret it, but what if you just painted the chairs? break it up a bit. It will look more casual.

Callie Grayson said...

I say go for it!!! I am constantly changing my interiors around. Every time friends come over my place is different. I have to blame that on my mum. She was constantly redoing our house when Iwaz growing up, I had 8 different bathroom designs by the time I graduated high school!
Xx callie

Julie Khuu said...

Keep the traditional and update it with some funky fresh paint! If you hate it, it's only paint and could be traded out for your more relaxed and informal finds...DIY is the first foray into refining your own tastes...Good luck!

Btw, Haute Khuuture just celebrated the 1-year mark and I'm celebrating with a HUGE giveway! Would love to see you stop by when you get a chance!

Happy Tuesday hun!

xo-Julie

Haute Khuuture Blog

debi@personalityispreferred said...

I totally was thinking that same thing in my dinning room. I say go for it. I may.

The Remnant Room said...

I'm sure someone else has already suggested it...keep the gorgeous table & add upholstered dining chairs. You could just start with the host and hostess chairs.
Paula

LLH Designs said...

I'd take Karin's advice any day! She was a ton of help to me during my dining room table days.

Have fun!
Linsey

a' la mode said...

Girl, I totally get it. When we moved from ATL to NASH this past year, I swore I didn't want un useable spaces in our new home. The dining room in our new home leans towards formal on detail but I added a farm house table, french bench, cross back chairs and a huge drum shade and brought it down several notches so that it was a room we would use often. I don't regret it one BIT. I actually SOLD my old stuff. I know, drastic. But I craved the change. Here is a pic.
http://www.alamodemaven.com/2011/04/dining-room.html
xoxo Shelli (love your blog girl, good stuff!)